Lithops are very beautiful succulents that live in the rocky African deserts. Their name translates as "living stones". There are about 30 species and 60 subspecies.
The unusual external color and resistance to various natural conditions attracts attention to the plant of flower growers from all over the world. And simple care makes it possible to grow a flower at home.
Learn more about proper care, keeping such unusual succulents as "living stones" and about the difficulties an amateur florist may face in our article.
Lithops are interesting plants that come from the succulent genus and belong to the Aizov family. They do not have a stem and, in appearance, look like stones of a small size, round in shape and of various colors.
Succulents have fleshy, thick leaves that are paired and separated by a deep hollow. The maximum height can be up to 10 cm.
When does lithops bloom at home? The plant begins to bloom only in the third year after planting., from late summer to November. Only some individuals bloom, and the rest join gradually every year. An inflorescence appears between the leaves, usually yellow or white flowers. And the bud opens for several hours a day and can cover the entire succulent. The flowers have a large number of sepals and petals.
The buds last 7-12 days. In the case of pollination, at the end of flowering, a seed box appears.
Important! Lithops require rest for normal life. During hibernation, the molting process takes place - the replacement of old leaves with new ones. At this time, it is necessary to completely stop watering and put the pot with the plant in a cool, bright place and leave it alone.
The optimum temperature is 12-16 degrees. Molting stops in March - April. This care is required only for adult succulents. Young seedlings up to a year old need constant watering and additional lighting.
Below is a photo of the plant.
Care and maintenance of flowers in the house
How to properly care for these amazing "living stones"? Lithops are unpretentious and easy to maintain. And caring for them will not be difficult even for novice flower growers. It is enough to study their needs and create comfortable conditions.
Lithops are very light-loving plants. In the morning they need 4-5 hours of direct sunlight, and partial shade in the afternoon. During the period when the brightness of the sun decreases, the flowers open.
Reference. In early spring, the plant should be shaded slightly, as the sudden sun can cause burns. This should also be done on hot days with a mosquito net.
In winter, lithops require additional lighting. Fluorescent or LED lamps are well suited for this. If they are not installed, then without light, the plants stretch out, begin to lose weight, and may die. Lamps are placed at a distance of no more than 10 cm from the flowers, and for seedlings at a distance of 5–8 cm.
In summer, succulents can be kept at temperatures between 20 and 25 ° C, but the plant tolerates higher temperatures well. And also at this time they can be taken out on the balcony or in the garden, while it is recommended to shade the plant in the daytime. Being outdoors hardens and strengthens them, which promotes flowering.
In the winter season, lithops need a cold wintering. The optimum temperature for them in the cold period is 8–12 ° С. At higher temperatures, the plant stretches strongly, loses its appearance and stops blooming.
Due to the fact that lithops are lovers of sunlight, it is best to keep them on the south window or balcony. And place it as close to the glass as possible.
Do not rotate the position of the pot relative to the light source. Therefore, when taking out to the loggia, you need to make a mark so that in a new place the sun's rays fall from the same side as before.
How to water?
When caring for plants, special attention should be paid to watering. A large amount of water will destroy it very quickly. From April to September, succulents are watered moderately, no more than once every 11-15 days. During this period of time, Lithops are experiencing intensive growth and flowering.
From October to December, watering is reduced to once every 24-30 days. The rest of the time, it is strictly prohibited. When buds appear, usually in early July, watering is canceled until the flowers are fully blooming. And then it continues according to the old scheme. If the soil does not dry out during flowering, the interval between waterings increases.
A syringe or a watering can with a narrow and long nose is used for the procedure, since moisture penetration into the gap between the leaves is strictly not allowed.
Attention! It is also not recommended to pour water into the sump. The water should be settled and not hard. Add 0.5 g of citric acid to tap water for every 10 liters.
Lithops do not require special conditions of detention regarding air humidity. They easily tolerate prolonged stay in a room with dry air. The main thing is to regularly ventilate the room where the flower pot is. But at the same time it is necessary to ensure that there is no draft, since this can adversely affect the plant.
On particularly hot days, it is recommended to spray the air around the plant with a fine spray. Lithops should not be kept next to moisture-loving flowers.
Due to the fact that lithops are very hardy plants, they do not need constant fertilization. However, if they did not transplant for a long time and grew in a small pot, then the soil during this time has become very depleted and top dressing will only be useful. The procedure is carried out 1-2 times a year.
Mainly liquid fertilizers are used for cacti, the most popular of which are Zdraven, Etisso, Power of Life, etc. The concentration must be made half as much as it is written on the package. Fertilizers are diluted with water and applied after watering. In late autumn and during wintering, top dressing is not recommended.
The composition of the soil for lithops can be practically any, it should not contain limestone and in a high concentration of minerals. The soil must hold the required amount of water and be nutritious.
The substrate for the plant can be purchased at the flower shop. But it is better to prepare yourself for this 1 part of sod humus, clay and brick chips, mix with 1.5 parts of quartz sand.
The bottom of the pot is packed tightly with gravel to provide ventilation and drainage of excess water. And after planting lithops, the top layer of soil is covered with pebbles or cracked shells to prevent moisture evaporation and the development of mosses.
Do I need to trim?
The plant does not require pruning and shaping, it is better not to touch it. Even dried leaves should not be torn off, as this can damage the neck of the flower and cause death.
Lithops reproduce in two ways.
After flowering, a fruit with seeds appears on the lithops, it is taken out and laid until early spring, when they begin to germinate.
- Before sowing, the seeds are soaked for six hours in warm water.
- Meanwhile, the prepared soil is poured over with hot water.
- After the seeds are placed in the ground without deepening. The pot is covered with foil and placed in a lighted place.
- The container with seeds should be ventilated daily for no more than 10 minutes and watered. As soon as the seedlings grow up, increase the airing time up to 4 times a day and reduce watering. The film can be removed after 2-3 weeks, but this must be done gradually so that the seedlings have time to adapt.
- They are transplanted into separate pots after a year.
Read more about growing lithops from seeds in this article.
From the video you will learn how to plant lithops seeds:
Neatly separate two sheets and plant them in pots at a certain distance from each other. Before planting in the ground, you need to level the root system of the plants so that it does not curl.
It is recommended to purchase lithops only during the growing season. After purchase, they should be immediately transplanted into a suitable soil.
Before planting, the root system is freed from peat, dried and checked for damage. A prerequisite is the presence of a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot. After that, they just lay the soil, pour it over with boiling water, transfer the flower and water it. The pot should be no more than 10 cm.
Lithops do not need frequent transplantation. Adult plants are transplanted every 3-4 years, and young plants every 2 years. The process is carried out after wintering. The pot should be 1 cm higher than the previous one, or you can move it to an old flowerpot with new soil. You will find all the subtleties and nuances of planting and transplanting this original plant in a separate article.
Difficulties of content
The main problems when caring for a plant:
- Due to excessive watering, plants suffer from moisture stagnation and root rot. Therefore, it is necessary to control the amount of applied water.
- With frequent, but moderate watering, due to an excess of moisture, succulents can burst. In this case, they should be watered much less frequently.
- If the leaves are lethargic and shriveled, the lithops lack water. It needs to be watered and it will be shiny the next day.
- There is no flowering, then the plant does not have enough light, is overfed or too young.
- Mealybugs can sometimes appear on succulents. In order to get rid of them, the leaves of the plant are wiped with soapy water. Some growers cover the flower pot with a bag, and sprinkle a little dichlorvos inside and leave it for 20-30 minutes, this procedure does not harm the plant. In case of severe infection, various insecticidal preparations can be used.
Watch a video on how to care for lithops: watering, the temperature of the content at different times of the year, the choice of a pot and land:
If lithops have appeared in your dwelling, you should not be afraid of difficulties, since care and cultivation does not cause any particular difficulties. The main thing is to comply with all the rules and conditions of detention behind them. And then succulents with their beauty will delight their owner all year round.